Although I've been using more natural deodorants for years, it can be hard to find the right one that actually works for you and doesn't cost a fortune. I hear many complaints that people simply don't want to use natural brands because they just "don't work".
This is true, to some degree. They don't work in the sense that a typical anti-perspirant works. They don't prevent perspiration. Instead they help to prevent odor, kill bacteria and they minimize (key word) perspiration, rather than full on preventing it.
So why be concerned about using anti-perspirant or even conventional deodorants?
- Many of them contain Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex, which is considered carcinogenic (cancer-causing) as well as having developmental and reproductive toxicity concerns. When you consider using an ingredient like this under your armpits, near your chest and lymph nodes, day in and day out, you can understand how it could be problematic.
- Your skin is your largest organ. It absorbs what you put on it, and the chemical contents of that deodorant (or soap or body lotion, etc.) ultimately make it into your blood stream. Aside from aluminum, there are many other toxic ingredients in conventional store products. If you're not convinced, try going to the Skin Deep database, entering the name of the conventional deodorant or anti-perspirant that you use and see how it stacks up.
- Blocking sweat pores is not a good idea. We were given pores and the ability to sweat by our Creator (who I'm pretty sure it smarter than us) for a reason. Our body needs a way to release toxins, as well as to cool itself down when overheated. Using an anti-persirant to prevent yourself from sweating is messing around with a bodily function that probably shouldn't be messed with.
- Even some "natural" deodorant products have ingredients that are less than ideal (although there are some good ones out there). Not only that, but they're expensive. I have a hard time spending $4-6 on deodorant, personally.
Nonetheless, a girl wants to smell fresh, right? After years of frustration with products that didn't really do the job, I had turned to deodorant stones or crystals. So far, they have been the product that has worked best for me, and I don't mind using them, but I still wanted to try something different.
I had read very varying reports on the use of potassium alum (which is in crystal deodorants). Some say that it is still toxic, maybe not as bad as Aluminum Zirconium, but toxic nonetheless, while others say it is harmless. I'm still torn on the issue.
My Recipe for an All Natural Deodorant That Goes On Easy
It was time for a new alternative. I could find many cheap and simple homemade deodorant recipes on the web, but I really wanted something that would be firm enough to go in a proper container, so I didn't have to use my fingers.
Last spring, I made my first trial recipe that was more firm and could be used in a container, but I was only somewhat impressed with it.
Later this summer, I tweaked the recipe, and now I'm loving it!
I do have to note that there is a short adjustment period, as there is with most transitions we make to less chemical-filled products. The first week (or couple of weeks) that you use it, you may not find it quite as effective as you would prefer. Once your body becomes accustomed to it (and weaned off of the chemicals it's used to) it should begin to work well.
If my recipe were to be rated on EWG's Skin Deep cosmetic safety database, it would most likely score a zero (the best rating). It could only potentially score a 1 for the use of tea tree oil, which isn't necessarily toxic, it's only that some people who are sensitive could react to it, although most don't. So, I'd say it's pretty safe to stick on those armpits!
Makes enough for one average-sized deodorant roll-up container.
- 1/8 cup arrowroot powder
- 1/8 cup baking soda
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 heaped Tbsp. beeswax (I use the pellets, which are easy for measuring and melt down quickly)
- 8 drops tea tree essential oil
- 8 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 drops castor oil (optional- this just helps it to "slide" a little better)
- Very small amounts of other essential oils for scent purposes (optional- you can use up to another 8-10 drops)
This can easily be doubled if you have more than one container to fill.
Don't make the mistake that I did this past time of shaking essential oil bottles with poorly fitting droppers directly over your pot of ingredients. My dropper lids popped straight off (literally pouring oil into the pot) and I ended up with VERY pretty-smelling deodorant, slightly softer than I prefer because of the extra oil content. Oops!
Add all ingredients to a small pot and put it on low heat on your stove.
Stir every once in a while, until everything is melted (the beeswax takes the longest, but it's still within a couple minutes), and then stir well to incorporate the powders into the mixture so that it is nice and smooth. It will be a slightly thick, creamy colored liquid as you can see above.
Take an empty deodorant container (that you have previously emptied and washed out- if the stuff that's in there is conventional it is probably hard enough that it will come out by simply twisting it until it falls out), and wash it out well.
Mine is from a previous natural deodorant that I had purchased, whose brand shall remain nameless. :)
Twist it back down so that the the bottom piece is as low as it will go, with plenty of room to fill up the container.
Simply pour the melted oil/powder mixture into the container. There's no trick, it just goes straight in.
Fill it right up until the very top, as full as you can. It might look like it is slightly bubbled up and about to spill over the edge, but it will settle a little as it cools and end up right around the top edge of the rim.
Allow it to sit on your counter for a couple of hours to completely cool off and solidify. If you're impatient like me, you can put it in your fridge (once it has solidified enough to move it gently) to make the process go faster.
Using Your Deodorant
There are only two things I can think of to note as far as usage:
- It won't be as solid as a conventional deodorant stick, so don't twist it up very high before using it. Twist it just high enough (just a few millimeters, or 1/8 or 1/6 of an inch above the rim) to get what you need, but higher than that and you might smush some of it onto the sides.
- Don't overdo it. Especially during the transition period, your temptation may be (as mine was) to put on extra in hopes that it would work better. It won't. Honestly. Just use a nice, thin amount and the longer you use it, the better it will work for you.
That's it. I hope you enjoy the fruits of my experimental labors and my now beautifully-perfumed underarms.